Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (2 March) on the current situation in Ukraine:
We are on an extremely dangerous path of escalating tensions. A change of course is still possible. There is still a chance of stopping Europe being split. To do so, all those responsible need to refrain from taking any further steps which can only be interpreted as provocation. Anything else would cause the situation to spiral, with uncertain, possibly drastic consequences, and could destroy many years of constructive cooperation on increasing security in Europe.
Russia has no right to deploy its military in Ukrainian territory beyond the rules of the lease agreement on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. We call on Russia with all urgency to refrain from any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We are actively advocating that the new political leaders in Kyiv protect the rights and interests of all the people of Ukraine. This particularly involves unequivocal protection of minority rights, including use of minority languages. The OSCE, and notably its High Commissioner on National Minorities, can play an important role here.